Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade ‘concerned’ about money being a factor in Heat Big Three’s free agent decision


The Heat’s star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are doing their best to avoid talking about next summer’s free agent decision that all three players will be faced with, but inevitably, the questions keep coming, and so do some answers.

When they signed their Miami contracts in 2010, the group all sacrificed a small amount financially, and all structured their deals to include the ability to opt out following the 2013-14 season.

Bosh said recently that whether or not the Heat win a third straight title will go a long way in determining whether everyone comes back for up to two more seasons. But Wade realizes that with the new, stricter salary cap and luxury tax penalties that are in place, money could potentially be just as big a factor in everyone’s decision.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

In another private moment, Wade acknowledged hearing the muted talk of how he, James and Bosh would need to compromise in their next Heat contracts for there to be another round of Big Three possibilities starting in 2014-15.

“You’re concerned,” Wade said of money weighing into the equation as much as championship possibilities. “That’s obviously an important part of the puzzle. So, that’s something that we leave to our agents, we leave to the Miami Heat front office to see what they can present us, how creative they can be. We understand it’s not as easy as it was in 2010 when we signed.”

The Heat are already making roster decisions based on finances — Mike Miller, a member of the championship teams of the last two seasons, was waived this summer using the amnesty provision in a move that saved the club in the neighborhood of $17 million in total costs.

James and Bosh would both command max contracts on the open market if they went the free agency route, and Wade will likely get a couple more years added onto his deal to stay in Miami if he so chooses.

All three players could simply do nothing next summer, and earn around $42 million each over the next two seasons. What’s more likely, however, is that everyone opts out — either to sign long-term deals to stay in Miami, or to go their separate ways.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.